Beau Travail (1999)
I understand that Claire Denis' films are not for everyone. In fact, that's the best thing someone could say about any filmmaker in the world. Denis is very specific, she knows what she has to shoot, and she is not afraid. She often creates her visuals with brilliant metaphors, suggestive ideas and experimental non lineal narrative. Beau Travail is about repressed human feelings. You know, homosexuality.
In the context of such a violent environment, the war is inside the characters. A defiant leader, a possible lover, and the enemy. All of them men. We are here to talk about the beautiful cinematography work by Agnes Godard, but Denis creates an atmosphere not only with images but also with sounds, specially silences. War receives a different treatment here, focusing more on internal troubles. The outside work, that Beau Travail of the title, is perfectly executed, but their insecurities are wild and about to collapse.
In my opinion, the best shot of Beau Travail is a very hypnotic, strange, evocative one. I didn't expect such originality. There's a scene, at night, where the leader played by the great Denis Lavant, is observing the other men and, exactly, the one he has deep feelings for. With the sound of him smoking the cigarette, and the image of the fire and the smoke, you can not only feel the tension of the character, but getting inside his own skin. It's the perfect climax to a wonderful visual experience. Highly recommended.